A New Dawn in the Negev is a Bedouin-Jewish community development organisation based in Rahat, Israel. A New Dawn believes that education, employment, and leadership are the key elements to help youth and young adults rise out of poverty and become active engaged citizens invested in civil society.
As a community-based organisation, A New Dawn is intrinsically attuned to the challenges and opportunities of Arab Bedouin society from the grassroots level. The Bedouin community of Israel’s Negev region is a marginalised, indigenous population marked by low socio-economic resources, both in relation to Israel’s mainstream population and its Arab non-Bedouin counterparts. Rahat is the largest Bedouin community in Israel and its only Bedouin city. With a population of 80,000, 66% of whom are under eighteen and 80% under thirty, meaningful tools for leadership development and social engagement are of paramount importance to community development. A New Dawn's diverse programming directly addresses these concerns.
A New Dawn: its founding story
Jamal Alkirnawi is A New Dawn’s founder and executive director. The organisation is a manifestation of his desire to raise the level of education for the Bedouin community in Israel’s Negev region. A social activist since youth, Jamal is a son of Rahat, who rose up through the university system, integrating his own experiences and successes to become the academic counselor for Arab students at Ben-Gurion University, where he worked for 7 years.
A professional social worker, Jamal has extensive experience as well as a bachelor’s degree in public health administration and 2 graduate degrees: a master’s in social work with a specialisation in peacebuilding from McGill, in Canada, and a social leadership MBA from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Powered by passion and a vision for a better future for Rahat, Jamal founded A New Dawn in 2009.
Jamal believes that the key to Rahat's development is through superior educational and leadership opportunities for all children, youth, and young adults. A high quality of education will prevent the city's steep drop-out rate and high unemployment; teaching Bedouin youth to become responsible, ethical, and committed citizens of their communities. This process must begin in infancy, he asserts, combating the gaps between Arabs and Jews that begin at birth and continue throughout their lives.
Education, employment, activism, and leadership development are the pillars of A New Dawn’s work, which is committed to these ideals and believes they should be the highest of public priorities.
[more_info_box]Follow A New Dawn on social media: